BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned Wednesday that the state has had three weeks “going in the wrong direction” in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
Edwards said Louisiana had lost all gains made against COVID-19 in June and now are seeing new case numbers rivaling peaks seen in April.
However, unlike that previous peak which had an epicenter in the New Orleans metro area, Edwards said Louisiana is facing a “statewide epidemic” in which no one region is driving case growth and hospitalizations.
The Louisiana Department of Health said the top five places for COVID-19 outbreaks in the state are bars, industrial settings, restaurants, food processing, and colleges and universities.
The governor said he joined a phone call Wednesday morning with 20 hospital CEOs and medical directors from around the state. He said “nearly every” one of the call participants reported sustained increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
As of Wednesday, Louisiana reported 70,151 total cases and 3,231 deaths since the virus’ outbreak was first discovered in early March. While black people accounted for more than half of those cases, Edwards said Wednesday that newer cases tended to trend whiter and male.
Total patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have rebounded, reaching 1022 Wednesday, the highest level since May 18.
Those hospital health leaders also said they were having issues with staffing, testing, and access to COVID-19 treatments like Remdesivir.
Edwards, along with Louisiana Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Dr. Alexander Billioux, stressed that individuals who are exposed to the virus should be quarantined for a full 14 days, even if they receive a negative coronavirus test result in that time.